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2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class - The Best Sedan In The World?

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Henny at Speed - 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

First Drive: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

TORONTO, July 12, 2013; The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class can smooth out speed bumps, it sees people and animals in the dark, offers heated arm rests and hot stone massage. A slew of innovations, both with respect to safety and comfort, combined with more efficient engines and a sophisticated body style mark the 2014 S-Class.

1973 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (select to view enlarged photo)

Since its debut some 40 years ago, the Mercedes S-Class always has been a bench mark in the luxury segment and even with a complete new generation coming up, the current model has been successful to this very date. But with the hot breath of its German competitors in the neck, the development of the new S-Class is becoming more crucial than ever before. Daimler invested more than 1.3 billion dollar in the German Sindelfingen plant, where Mercedes builds its flag ship and then, we do not mention the development costs that so far have not been released.

Anyway, the result is the sixth generation S-Class, that has been developed on the long wheel chassis (W222), of which the short wheel base model (V222) has been derived.

As I mentioned earlier this week, the 2014 S-Class has a slew of innovative technologies. I mentioned several, in fact there is too much to write about it all, but I can refer to the link Innovations in S-Class on the bottom of this article.

However, when reporting my driving the new S 500, I cannot avoid talking about the ones that I could feel.

Rear Seat Passenger

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (select to view enlarged photo)

I began my evaluation of the new S-Class in the back of the car as a passenger and I must say feeling like a queen. Getting in the front passenger seat folded forward, the foot rest of the back seat extended, I descended on the beautifully executed leather, stretched my tired legs, found the button for the hot stone massage, laid my arm down on the heated arm rest, bent my head rearwards onto the soft pillow of the reclined seat and looked up through the double glass roof to the Toronto skyscrapers. Pure luxury, with lots of room and an atmosphere of unsurpassable chic, and with extended safety in the back of my mind I will only mention this one: airbags in the seat belts that prevent injury during the belt’s sudden retraction when in an accident…wow!

Front Driver Seat

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (select to view enlarged photo)

Up front, in the driver seat, the warm air is sucked away and after several minutes cold air is blown into the seat, resulting in a quick cool down for your warm backside.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (select to view enlarged photo)

I easily found the right position behind the steering wheel of the large car. But driving it from downtown into the Muskoka Lake region, I did not feel hindered by the length of 207 inches of the V222 (the long wheel base) inches at all. The V8 runs so smoothly that you even have to think if you have started the engine, and the transmission shifts are equally smooth. Steering is firm and direct, and the brakes are well-suited to do their work.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (select to view enlarged photo)

The S can drive autonomously as well. That is, if you do not take your hands of the steering wheel. It accelerates, brakes and even steers itself, provided the lines on the roads are marked correctly. You just adjust the speed, like in Distronic, and the car maintains that until it has to brake. You can imagine that it is only a small step – small in the minds of us laymen – to have the S-Class set up for autonomous driving.

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The 2014 S-Class is a haven of peace, even when I pushed the throttle and the car sprinted forward, there was a sovereign feel. Nevertheless, the 455 horses and 700 Nm/516 lb-ft of torque of the V8 allow the 4,442 pounds to propel from 0- 62 mph in only 4.8 counts.

On the freeway, it is so easy to drive 80 mph, you do not hear any wind noise, no engine noise, only some far away rumble of the tires on the asphalt. Only when you open the throttle the 4.7-liter bi-turbo lets you modestly know it is at work and the transmission faintly lets you know it is shifting quickly.

In The Netherlands, the maximum speed limit is low, but in Canada it is even worse: the signs along two lane highways say 80! I thought it was in miles, until my colleague and I realized the Canadians use the metric system and 80 km/h is 50 mph. On multi-lane highways you are not allowed to go over 62 mph.

The new S-Class, W222 for the long wheel base and V222 for the short wheel base that has been derived from it, has an improved structure that is 50 percent higher torsion stiffness thanks to the fact that half of the construction is of aluminum, resulting also in a 220 lbs lower weight than the comparable outgoing model. All engines have been reworked for up to 20 per cent more efficiency, which in combination with the lighter construction and the aerodynamically very efficient body results in considerable lower fuel consumption of all variants.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (select to view enlarged photo)

The drive to the Muskoka airport in Gravenhurst, halfway our route to Muskoka Lake was so relaxed that you hardly realize that you drove for more than 1.5 hours. At the airfield, I saw Stefan Cytrynski again, who explained the (optional) Magic Body Control system the evening before. First Look: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (July 8, 2013)

Now, we were set up to experience it on a stretch of asphalt with speed bumps. The car should not be in Sport mode, but in Eco and then the system does its work up to 80 mph. And it should not rain as that would blur the two stereo cameras vision.

It is truly amazing to feel the difference. Without the magical system, taking the bump at 30 mph you feel your body going up and down with the car. Not nice. But as soon as the system is engaged, the S-Class behaves as if bewitched: the bumps are gone and you may think you are in a hovercraft.

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In the earlier article I promised my answer to the question whether the thousands of Mercedes engineers have succeeded in developing the best car in the world. I wholeheartedly can say “yes”. The S-Class is the most luxurious of luxury sedans worldwide, a sophisticated machine that offers comfort and safety that, so far, we have not seen on the market. The availability of the S-Class fuel efficient engines is a logical consequence of the ongoing development of power train technology.

In Europe, sales of the S-Class S350 BlueTEC, S-Class 400 Hybrid, S-Class S500 start on July 20. In the US, sales of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S 550 will start in September, while the 4Matic all wheel drive models go on Sale in November. The 300 BlueTEC Hybrid will arrive in 2014, as well as the S500 Plug-in Hybrid, the S 600 and the AMG models. The S500 plug-in Hybrid offers a fuel economy of more than 58 mpg with a CO2 emission of 75 grams/liter.

The U.S. MSRP On the 2014 S-Class is $95,925-$164,010.

Innovations in the 2014 Mercedes S-Class
2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Assistance Systems

• DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot

• BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist

• Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus

• Night View Assist Plus

• Active Lane Keeping Assist

• 360° camera

• Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC


• PRE-SAFE® brake with pedestrian recognitiona and city braking function

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Safety Features

• Seat belt buckle extender (active seat-belt buckle)

• Adaptive airbag system (Active Vent)

• • Beltbag for outer rear seats

• • PRE-SAFE® Impulse

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sound Features

• Frontbass

• Burmester® High-End 3D Surround Sound system

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Chassis and Suspension Features


• AIRMATIC with continuously adaptive damping system